tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC May 2, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
jubilation in some parts of the globe and in other places warnings that it does not end the war on terror. nbc's mike viqueira is at the white house now. mike, what can you tell about what we're expecting to hear again from the president, now some 12 hours or so after he first made the announcement? >> reporter: well, the president is slightly delayed. we're told he was supposed to have appeared five minutes ago. you're right, this will be first time we see him in public since that dramatic announcement, the president walking across first floor through the grand foyer of the white house to the east room and making the announcement that justice has been done, that u.s. special operations forces had helicoptered into that compound just 35 miles from the pakistani capital of islamabad, executed the operation, killed osama bin laden, retrieved his body, so much to talk about, so many details at this point, some harrowing moments during that operation. one of the helicopters lost altitude, came down to the
ground, very -- an unscheduled -- some call it a heart stopping moment according to reporting we have from my colleague, savannah guthrie. they killed osama bin laden, shot him through the eye, the left eye, that kind of level of detail, we're told there is a picture that exists that has been taken by american forces. and the united states government is now deciding what to do with that picture and how to demonstrate not only to the american citizenry, but to the arab world in particular that osama bin laden is indeed dead. he's been buried at sea as we have learned over the last several hours in accordance with islamic dictates of the religion, cleansed and buried at sea within 24 hours after his death. we do expect the president to mention what has happened very briefly. this previously sket ll lly sch, two medal of honors. and what we have heard today, in
a statement to employees of the cia from leon panetta, the director there, he's headed to the defense department, is not only congratulations and lauding the american forces, but a warning that there could be retribution, there could be operations, revenge operations launched by islamic radical elements by the united states in the wake of these startling events, contessa. >> mike viqueira, thank you very much. we'll keep our eye on the white house now and when we see president obama, we will be sure to bring that to you live. and, of course, part of this medal of honor ceremony for these gentlemen who are receiving at ward posthumously. back to the big news that we're following today, osama bin laden, who was killed yesterday, he was hiding out in the pakistani city of abbottabad, home it a large military base and the pakistani army's military academy. the area is surrounded by hills. has mountains in the difference. according to a senior obama administration official, bin
laden's compound was on a massive plot of relatively secluded land. the facility is valued at more than a million u.s. dollars. the walls, anywhere from 12 feet to 18 feet high topped with barbed wire, surrounding that compound. it has two security gates very few windows and three families lived there without any phone or internet access. let me bring in nbc terrorism analyst, former white house counterterrorism official roger cressey. in a place like this, we have this google map, when you get down to the street level, it shows a bus stop right around the corner. there is a playground nearby. how can anyone be satisfied with pakistan's level of counterterrorism activity when you find out bin laden was living smack dab in the middle of a community in the secure fortress. where were the questions? how could they not know that? >> there will be a lot of questions about what they did or did not know. one reason why we decided not to
tell the pakistanis in advance what we intended to do was fear that someone would have been tipped off, which has happened in the past, with other operations on the afghan/pakistan border. this is a case where he was hiding in plain sight, but you got to know where to look in order to figure out where he was. it is not like he was taking his daughter down the corner for a walk on a daily basis. there is two elements to keep in mind. one, the united states government is fully aware the pakistani government is schizophrenic when it comes to al qaeda. and there are places where they do cooperate with us, and the president was clear last night where there was some of that cooperation. but there are places where they simply don't. and that's why our unilateral option was so important for this type of mission. you're not going to see the pakistani government make too much of a stink about us going in, because it was bin laden. bin laden is the threshold for us to do anything unilaterally inside pakistan and not get a lot of blowback. >> i wanted to mention here,
roger, number one, the picture you're seeing on your screen is again from the white house where we're expecting the president and first lady at this medal of honor ceremony in the white house east room to award the medals of honor to two different private first class from the korean action. one for 1951, one for 1952. but the president is expected once again to address the killing of osama bin laden and we now have just learned that the u.s. has completed the dna analysis and it has come back with 100% certainty that it is, indeed, osama bin laden. also, nbc news has been told the cia's facial recognition technology identified bin laden's face with 95% certainty after comparing it to pictures of bin laden. and one of osama's wives was in the compound, survived and she actually identified the body at that point. so it looks like from all angles you have some confirmation that this, indeed, is osama bin laden.
it should quiet some of the questions and concerns. the crowd has been told that the president is on his way in. this is the crowd that has gathered now in the east room to honor private first class anthony kaho'ohanohano of hawaii who served in korea in 1951 and will receive a medal of honor there. there you're seeing the president. the other private first class, henry svehla of new jersey who is being awarded the medal of honor for his actions in 1952. >> -- to commemorate the noble lives and sacrifices of two of our nation's precious sons. privates first class anthony kaho'ohanohano and henry svehla. those stirred by news of the past 24 hours, we pause in these moments to remember the heroic combat actions taken by these two soldiers on the korean peninsula, some 60 years ago. both anthony and henry responded fearlessly against an enemy onabsolute and saved the lives
of their fellow soldiers. they led from the front and loved beyond measure, portraying the ultimate act of selfless service. oh, god, remind us again today our nation has risen to our true greatness on the shoulders of americans like anthony and henry. may this ceremony serve to reinforce our awareness as a nation that our country's way of life and our freedom is a priceless inheritance, one through the commitment and sacrifice of those who have selflessly paid for our freedom with their blood. may your blessings be upon the families of henry and anthony who have given their loved ones to this nation and who have kept their memories alive for this very moment. by your grace, may we never forget their sacrifice. in your holy name, amen. >> good morning, everybody. please be seated. on behalf of michelle and
myself, welcome to the white house. to our many guests from hawaii, aloha. and thank you, chaplain carver, for that wonderful invocation. i think we can all agree this is a good day for america. our country has kept its commitment to see that justice is done. the world is safer. it is a better place because of the death of osama bin laden. today we are reminded that as a nation, there is nothing we can't do when we put our shoulders to the wheel, when we work together, when we remember the sense of unity that defines us as americans. and we have seen that spirit, that patriotism and the crowds that have gathered here outside the white house, at ground zero
in new york and across the country, people holding candles, waving the flag, singing the national anthem, people proud to live in the united states of america. and we're reminded that we are fortunate to have americans who dedicate their lives to protecting ours. they volunteer. they train. they endure separation from their families. they take extraordinary risks so that we can be safe. they get the job done. we may not always know their names. we may not always know their stories. but they are there, every day, on the front lines of freedom and we are truly blessed. i do want to acknowledge before we begin the ceremony two individuals who have been critical as part of my team who are here today.
first of all, i think somebody who will go down as one of the finest secretaries of defense in history, secretary bob gates who is here. [ applause ] and sitting beside him, someone who served with incredible valor on behalf of this country, and is now somebody who i think will go down as one of the greatest secretaries of veterans affairs in our history, eric shinseki. [ applause ] now, i have to say that as commander in chief, i could not be prouder of our men and women
in uniform. that is true now in today's wars. it has been true in all of our wars. and it is why we are here today. long ago a poet of the first world war wrote of the sacrifice of young soldiers in war. they shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn, that the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. today we are joined by two american families who six decades ago gave our nation one of their own. private first class henry svehla and private first class anthony kaho'ohanohano.
they did not grow old. these two soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice when they were just 19 and 21 years old. age did not weary them in the hearts of their families they remain forever young. loving sons, protective brothers, hometown kids who stood tall in america's hometown, in america's uniform. today we remember them, and we honor them with the highest military decoration that our nation can bestow, the medal of honor. in doing so we also honor their families, who remind us that it is our extraordinary military families who also bear the heavy burden of war. we are joined by members of congress who are here. we are very grateful for you. we are also joined by leaders
from the army and our armed forces, including chairman of the joint chiefs of staff admiral mike mullen and the vice chairman general jim haase cartwright. there they are right there. [ applause ] and this is not in the script, but let me just acknowledge that without the leadership of bob gates, mike mullen, haase cartwright today and yesterday would not have happened and their steadiness and leadership has been extraordinary. i could not be prouder of them and i'm so grateful they have been part of our team. [ applause ] i especially want to welcome some of those who fought so bravely 60 years ago. our inspiring korean veterans.
korean war veterans who have made the trip here, and i also want to acknowledge those who are welcoming two more american heroes into the ranks, members of the society. thank you so much for your presence. [ applause ] this past november i paid a visit to south korea, visit that coincided with the 60th anniversary of the start of the korean war as well as november 11th, veterans day. i was privileged to spend part of the day with our troops and with dozens of veterans of the korean war. members of a generation who in the words of their memorial here in washington, fought for a country they never knew, and a people they never met. it was a generation that
included private first class anthony kaho'ohanohano. tony grew up in hawaii, in maui. he learned early we have a duty to others from his father, a dedicated police officer, and his mother, who devoted herself to their nine children. tony was a tall guy, he loved hawaii, swimming in the ocean, playing basketball, sounds like my kind of guy. his siblings remember him as the big brother, quiet but strong, who took care of them, stood up for them in the neighborhood, and would treat them to ice cream. tony's loyalty to family was matched by his love of country. even though hawaii wasn't even a state yet, by september 1951, the korean war had been waging for more than a year and tony
was part of the 17th infantry regiment, 7th infantry division which was fighting for strategic hills that could shape the course of the war. his squad was near a village called chupry when they came under ferocious attack. with the enemy advancing, with his men outnumbered, tony made a decision, he ordered his squad to fall back and seek cover. and then tony did something else. he stayed behind, machine gun in hand, he laid down fire so his men could get to safety, he was one american soldier alone against an approaching army. when tony was wounded in the shoulder, he fought on. he threw a grenade after grenade. when his weapon ran out of ammunition, he grabbed another. and when he ran out of ammo, he reached for the only thing left,
a shovel. that's when the enemy overran his position. and in those final moments the combat was hand to hand. it was that bravery, that courage of the single soldier that inspired his men to regroup, to rally and to drive the enemy back. and when they finally reached tony's position, the measure of his valor became clear. after firing so many bullets, the barrel of his machine gun was literally bent, but tony had stood his ground, he had saved the lives of his men. after his death, tony was awarded the army's second highest award for valor, the distinguished service cross. but his family felt he deserved more. and so did senator and world war ii vet danny akaka. we're honored that senator akaka has joined us as well as maizie
and obviously we are extraordinarily grateful that we're joined by another senator, and a medal of honor recipient, d danny noya. thank you so much for your presence. [ applause ] now, hawaii is a small state. but the kaho'ohanohano are a very big family. in fact, i went to high school with one of their cousins. this is a remarkable family. service defines them. tony's father and all six sons served in the military. another member of the family has served in afghanistan. nearly 30 members of the family
have travelled from hawaii to be here including tony's sister elaine and brother eugene. and for the sacrifice that your family endured, for the service that your family has rendered, thank you so much. i would ask that you all join me in welcoming tony's nephew george who worked for so many years to get his uncle the honor that he deserved. george? [ applause ] >> the president of the united states of america authorized by act of congress march 3rd, 1863,
has awarded in the name of congress the medal of honor to private first class anthony t. kaho'ohanohano. united states army, for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. private first class anthony t. kaho'ohanohano, company h, 17th infantry regiment, 7th infantry division distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy in the vicinity of chupry, korea, on 1 september 1951. on that day, private first class kaho'ohanohano was in charge of machine gun squad supporting the defensive positioning of company f when a superior enemy force launched a fierce attack. because of the enemy's overwhelming numbers, friendly troops were forced to execute a limited withdraw. as the men fell back, private first class kaho'ohanohano ordered his squad to take up
more defensible positions and pry covering fire for the force. although having been wounded in the shoulder during the initial enemy assault, private first class kaho'ohanohano gathered a supply of grenades and ammunition and returned to his original position to face the enemy alone. as the hostile troops concentrated their strength against his placement and in an effort to overrun it, private first class kaho'ohanohano fought fiercely and courageously, delivering deadly accurate fire into the ranks of the onrushing enemy. when his ammunition was depleted, he engaged the enemy in hand to hand combat until he was killed. private first class kaho'ohanohano's heroic stand so inspired his comrades that they launched a counterattack that completely repulsed the enemy. upon reaching private first class kaho'ohanohano's placement, troops discovered 11 enemy soldiers lying dead in front of the placement and two
inside it. killed in hand to hand combat. private first class kaho'ohanohano's extraordinary heroism and selfless devotion to duty are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the seventh infantry division and the united states army. [ applause ]
>> about the time that tony was inspiring his men, another young soldier was joining up with the 7th infantry division in korea, private first class henry svehla. he grew up in new jersey. he loved fishing on the jersey shore, he was one of six kids and the youngest son, but the one who seemed to take care of everybody else. his sister dorothy remembers how their mom would be in the kitchen at the end of a long day trying to cook dinner for six kids. henry, a teenager, would walk in, grab his mother's hand and dance her around the kitchen. if anybody needed him, said dorothy, henry was there. and he was there for america, in korea, as the war neared its third and final year. henry knew the dangers and one
of his last letters home he wrote i may not return. that june of 1952, the heat was unbearable. the monsoon rains and mosquitos were relentless, but the 7th infantry division pushed on, probing enemy lines, fighting bunker by bunker, hill by hill. and as henry and his company neared the top one hill, the rocky slopes seemed to explode with enemy fire. his unit started to falter and that's when henry made his move. he stood up, he looked ahead, and he charged forward into a hail of bullets. those who were there described how he kept firing his weapon, kept hurling grenades, and how even after being wounded in the face, he refused medical attention and kept leading the charge. that's when an enemy grenade landed among his men. every human instinct, every
impulse would tell a person to turn away. but at that critical moment, henry svehla did the opposite. he threw himself on that grenade and with his sacrifice he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers. henry svehla's body has never been recovered. that's a wound in the heart of his family that has never been fully healed. it is also a reminder that as a nation, we must never forget those who didn't come home, who are missing in action who are taken prisoner of war. and we must never stop trying to bring them back to their families. henry was awarded the distinguished service cross but his family believed he earned this nation's highest military honor. they contacted their congressman and his staff, who made it their mission and we thank representative bill pascrell for making this day possible.
henry's parents and brother did not live to see this day, but two of his sisters, dorothy and sylvia, are with us. dorothy, sylvia, you remind us that behind every american who wears our nation's uniform stands a family who serves with them. and behind every american who lays down their life for our country as a family who mourns them and honors them for the rest of their lives. every day, for nearly 60 years, you have lived the poet's words, that the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. and so i want to conclude today by inviting everyone to join me in welcoming henry's sister dorothy to the stage for the presentation of the medal. [ applause ]
>> the president of the united states, authorized by act of congress, march 3rd, 1863, has awarded in the name of congress the medal of honor to private first class henry svehla, united states army, for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. private first class henry svehla distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidry above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with f company 32nd infantry regiment in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in korea. on 12 june, 1952. that afternoon, while private first class svehla and his platoon were patrolling a strategic hill to determine enemy strength and positions,
they were subjected to intense enemy automatic weapons and small arms fire at the top of the hill. coming under heavy fire, the platoon's attack began to falter. realizing the success of mission and the safety of the remaining troops were in peril, private first class svehla leapt to his feet and charged the enemy positions, firing his weapon and throwing grenades as he advanced. in the face of his courage and determination, the platoon rallied to attack with renewed vigor. private first class svehla utterly disregarding his own safety destroyed enemy positions and inflicted heavy casualties. when suddenly fragments from a mortar round exploding nearby seriously wounded him in the face. despite his wounds, private first class svehla refused medical treatment and continued to lead the attack. when an enemy grenade landed among a group of his comrades, private first class svehla, without hesitation, and undoubtedly aware of extreme danger, threw himself upon the
grenade. during this action, private first class svehla was mortally wounded. private first class svehla's extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the united states army. [ applause ]
>> let's give both families a big round of applause. anthony and for henry. [ applause ] >> please join me in prayer. gracious god, you stirred our heart as we heard the accounts of two great american soldiers who valued the lives of those under their care more than their very own. you told us in the holy scripture there is no greater love than this, and so would you etch this eternal truth in our own hearts as we carry out our responsibilities to you, our families and our great nation. bless the young men and women of our armed services who walk in
the footsteps of both anthony and henry, protecting and defending our lives and freedoms, and, lord, continue to bless and power and give great wisdom to our president, barack obama as he leads our nation in these challenging times. and, god bless america, in your holy name we pray, amen. >> thank you so much, everyone. please enjoy the reception. and, again, to the families, we could not be prouder of anthony and henry. we are grateful for their sacrifice. we are grateful for your sacrifice. you have made this country safer. tony and henry stand as a model of courage and patriotism. god bless you. god bless the united states of america. thank you, everyone. [ applause ] >> president obama honoring the sacrifice of two of the many americans who have laid down their lives with courageous action in defense of our country. in this case, awarding two
medals of honor to private first class anthony kaho'ohanohano of hawaii and private first class henry svehla of new jersey, both for their actions in korea in 1951 and 1952 respectively. and, of course, also mentioning that the world is a safer place because of the death of al qaeda leader osama bin laden. that was the announcement that the president made a little more than 12 hours ago. and today speaking at the white house, he says it shows that the united states has kept its commitment to seeing that justice is done. chris matthews is the host of "hard ball" on msnbc. in this case, the president laid this out as a top priority from the get-go. he said to his top leaders, give me the plan, show me the plan, let's get it done. today has got to be a good day for the president as well. >> yes, i think it is about clarity of purpose, and competence. i think we all judge each other, whether we're married to
somebody or not, we're always judging people on their basic competence, not glamour. this is a case of an unglamorous people, s.e.a.l.s and other service people going out to a scary part of the world where we're not exactly clearly friendly in terms of -- or fine friends. and risking lives and a lot to go over there and do this the right way. i think it is the important part of this that was don't right way. we didn't go in there with a predator missile, there wasn't any more collateral damage than necessary. we know we got the man. they have the evidence. and even in the way they handled the body, with making sure they cleansed it and buried it within 24 hours to as not to insult islam. i think everything was done so well this time. >> we got the details here, chris, from senior officials saying that they wrapped the body in a clean cloth, that they washed it and that they gently lowered it into the sea. this is osama bin laden's body. and we know that there were several cases where the dna
analysis came back with 100% certainty that they had one of osama bin laden's surviving wives identify him. does this answer the question about how strong a handle the president has on foreign policy? i mean, back when he was campaigning, he actually said to somebody in august of 2007, if we have actionable intelligence about high value targets and pakistani president pervez musharraf, at the time, will not act, we will. at the time his opponents tried to paint him as naive or inexperienced and it turns out that that was exactly the action it took to get osama bin laden. >> that's good retrieval of information. thank you for that, contessa. let me tell you just the history point you mentioned a moment ago. i'm a history buff, as you know, one of the things done by the british when they were fighting for their empire in the sudan is they desecrated the body of mehdi, one of the heroes, to the people over there, the british were fighting. desecrated him. churchill came along and said that was horrible what was done.
it is important in history that the historic moments when they come to pass, end the right way with justice, not with desecration. it is so important to the people we're trying to deal with. this is not like a war like going to hitler's bunker, not like getting the tojo in tokyo. it is a different kind of war. it is a war that springs up, that the 20-year-old terrorist today ten years ago was 10 years old. the kids are growing up to wanna-be terrorists. you see them on the west bank. i've seen their families that celebrate them. this is a different kind of world. we must mute it, try to end it. you don't have a victory parade at this kind of war. you end it. so any false step like the desecration of a body can reap horrible rernturns. it is so important that they did this thing so well. and i think the president was operational, as you suggest, it is rather that the president of the united states gets involved so intricately in an operation
like this. from what we have been told, in the reporting and in what has come from the white house, we know that this president, since last august, has been calling the shots and carefully deciding on moves that we make and saying, no we don't want to use predators, we want to do it with rifles, we're going to get this guy and make sure we have gotten him. >> and monitored the progress of the actual action from a briefing room in the white house. what about the fact that afghanistan, chris, has become a political ping-pong at this point. you have people on both sides of the aisle who are saying, oh, the president is all wrong, we should be out of there already, what are we still doing in afghanistan, does this give the president more validity to press his case for how he wants to move forward, not only on afghanistan but libya as well? >> any sign of competence gives you more credit with your leadership. i think just in terms of watching this president, he is not perfect as president. let's face it. there are things he doesn't do well. he doesn't communicate with
working people, the troubles they're in now with the high gas prices and unemployment. he's not good at that sort of -- the thing that bill clinton was very good at. but there are other things he handles very well. he's very precise and organized and very disciplined. he moves very carefully and even elegantly in the way he does things. and this is the kind of thing where his sharpness, his acuity came to play. and i think it is so important to watch. i've watched him in briefings a couple of times and you sit down at the table from him and you say, and i don't say this with any partisanship, when you see him, you say this guy should be president. and certain things, he certainly is really good at. and in this -- in this whole operation, i don't know whether we could have been better led. >> yeah. thank you very much, chris. i know you'll have much more on the raid that killed osama bin laden on "hardball" tonight. thank you. still ahead, the navy s.e.a.l.s behind the operation, what this means for al qaeda, what does it mean for americans traveling abroad? quick break here.
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welcome back to msnbc. i'm contessa brewer. our big story today, the death of al qaeda leader osama bin laden at the hands of u.s. troops in a top secret operation. an elite navy s.e.a.l.s team made a raid in pakistan where bin laden was hiding. a fire fight broke out and troops shot bin laden in the head. we're just getting in now a graphic of what this compound looked like, this layout. the walls, anywhere between 14 feet and 18 feet high. on the left-hand side of this, you can see where they burned the trash, so they would not send this out the way people typically do with their garbage and instead burning it so there was no remnants for any intelligence officers left to find. and osama bin laden, when he was captured there is the overhead shot of this compound, and after he was killed, rather, he was positively identified and then buried at sea, taken by the
"carl vinson" and we're told gently lowered into the sea. moments ago the president spoke of what had been accomplished. >> today we're reminded that as a nation, there is nothing we can't do when we put our shoulders to the wheel, when we work together, when we remember the sense of unity that defines us as americans. >> nbc senior investigative producer bob windrum joins me here. what are you learning about how this operation unfolded, how technically advanced it needed to be? >> one of the things that we have learned is that there was a live feed of the operation that was routed through the helicopter and back to the united states. and that the president himself and the director of national intelligence, james clapper, watched it in the situation room at the white house and leon panetta, the direct aor of the cia, had overall command of the operation, watched it in his conference room.
it was narrated by admiral mccraven and telling them where things were going. there was somehow a camera on one of the 12 to 15 troops that went in there. we also believe it was a joint military cia operation that it was the s.e.a.l.s with support from the cia. so we have a lot of people who are very happy and very proud to have been part of this. but this is what the joint special operations command does. >> it sounds as though this team went in, though, with no real intention to capture osama bin laden. is that your understanding? is that what you're hearing? >> the default position has always been to kill him. when the first -- when the first attempt to go after him, after 9/11 began it was bring his body home in a -- bring his head home in a box. this has always been the position. the united states has never wanted to capture him, never wanted the big trial. they wanted to kill him. >> there is a major reward on
osama bin laden's head. is there any indication now who might receive that award? we have been told that the courier was instrumental in passing along information that led to this raid. are you hearing anything about the money? >> i'm not hearing anything. but there is a precedent when khalid sheikh mohammed was grabbed in 2003, there was a u.s. -- or a pakistani who was working for the cia. and he was able to direct the cia to the home where khalid sheikh mohammed was staying. and i think at that point the reward on his head was $5 million. and he received it. and he was granted also asylum, i believe in the united states, though i'm not sure of that. so if, indeed, there was a pakistani who was helpful and is not part of al qaeda, then he might receive it.
u.s. government employees, including the s.e.a.l.s, are not eligible for that. >> i know there are probably a lost americans who would disagree with that and would like to see the navy s.e.a.l.s getting part of that monetary reward, but we think that they did a great job and we're certainly really proud of them. and the intelligence officers that helped lead us there, bob, thank you so much, for laying this all out. when we come back, we're going to talk about the future of u.s.-pakistan relationships. quick break. ♪ that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh ♪ ♪ i like it, uh-huh, uh-huh ♪ that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh ♪ ♪ i like it [ male announcer ] introducing mio -- a revolutionary liquid water enhancer. add a little. add a lot. ♪ for a drink that's just the way you like it. ♪ i like it, uh-huh, uh-huh ♪ that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh ♪ [ male announcer ] make it yours. make it mio. ♪
special forces himself, and dealt with bin laden for more than a dozen years. an operation like this, so technically advanced that the president was able to see a live video feed and get narration from the folks with boots on the ground, what does it take to pull off that kind of a victory? >> first of all, contessa, these are some of the most highly trained soldiers ever in the history of the united states military and they have been fighting this war for years. these u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s are at the top of the top of their game, but it is difficult. flying at night in helicopters over a long distance, that is a really dangerous part of the mission. we had disasters before in special operations over helicopters. mogadishu or desert one going after -- >> it sounds like we came close to having a disaster here when the helicopters converged on this compound. can we pull that graphic up once again of what that overhead compound looks like. there is some space there between the actual living quarters and those outer perimeter walls, anywhere from 14 to 18 feet high, we're told
they were topped with barbed wire. so the choppers go in. their plan is to repel the special forces. then what happened? >> there is two really difficult periods, when the chopper comes in, looking for wires, trying to get over a fence, and that's a very dangerous period. then they have to move to the target, which is the next dangerous period where they go through that door. and they encounter -- they don't know what is going to be behind the door, could be women and children, could be a heavily armed commandos with weapons aimed at them, they don't know. they're trained to go through that door, select a target and engage those that are threatening and kill them. >> one of the choppers actually couldn't get enough air or something to that effect, had a mechanical problem and had to do this sort of hard landing we're told, not a crash, but what ended up happening is the other two choppers, i think, as they were leaving blew up the remains of that helicopter. >> that's right. that's a typical security operation. they don't want to leave equipment behind that other people may be able to get their hands on and these types of
units like this always plan for contingencies. >> 40 minutes, in and out. >> that's very quick. that's a big compound. they had to go through every room, every door, look through cellars, closets, make sure nobody slipped away. >> i want to ask you about the fact they used women as shields. in total, four people other than osama bin laden were killed there. does that surprise you? >> no, it doesn't. unfortunately this is something they do often. these people probably panicked, tried to hold a woman up and got them in harm's way. it is really sad. >> what do you expect to see at this point? a victory certainly for the war on terror. but could we see now an uptick in violence, the state department has already issued global warning to american travelers saying, look, we can see some backlash now against americans, against westerners, and certainly in public places where westerners are known to congregate. >> that's right. i think it is a real concern. there are two type scenarios. one, where al qaeda might have had an operation in the hopper and may try to accelerate it to
take the momentum away from this obvious victory for the u.s. or might have a lone wolf or some disgruntled person inspired by this and angered by this and try to exact some revenge for the killing of osama bin laden. they have to be on their toes. >> and al qaeda, is that really still the utmost terrorist organization of concern? >> well, al qaeda and its affiliation. al qaeda is now more of a movement than a particular group. they do still -- it is a small, very focused organization that has operatives that are conducting a plan to conduct terrorist attacks but also a much broader movement of people that share a like minded vision and an intent to use violence. >> michael, we appreciate you sharing your own personal experience about being in the army special forces and the perspective it gives you on the actions there. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> let me bring in stewart holiday, former ambassador to the united nations for special political affairs. one thing we know about this is that the pakistani authorities were in no way, shape or form notified before the americans went in to try and get osama bin
laden. the mission was a success. what does that say about our reliance on pakistan? >> well, it says that while we cooperate very closely on a variety of issues there is some strains and some problems. one of them is this trust level that exists at the tactical level between our intelligence community and the isi. so even if people are talking at the senior level and feel like there is a very close and cooperative relationship there are concerns about operational security and what kind of relationships might need to be protected. and furthermore, it is obviously there are going to be a lot of questions about the size of the compound and why it wasn't found sooner. >> there were -- certainly, you're saying, you're next to a military training academy, there is a bus stop and a playground and yet here is a compound with 18 foot high security walls and that's not raising red flags? what's going on over there? pakistan has taken a rather defensive position today in part, a statement here from a spokesperson says pakistan has played a significant role in
efforts to eliminate terrorism. it is pakistan's stated policy it will not allow its soil to be used in terrorist attacks against any country. pakistan's political leadership here, the parliament, the state institutions, the whole nation, they say are united to resolve -- to eliminate terrorism. do you buy that? are they really united to eliminate al qaeda insurgents? >> as much as they want to do the right thing in this case, they're existential and strategic vision, they look at these issues and there is nothing more important to them than maintaining the kind of links and intelligence channels that will help them in their long-term struggle with india. >> for almost a year, they're getting a billion dollars a year to join us in this war on terror. do we need pakistan? >> we do need pakistan. pakistan is potentially, if it
gets out of control, one of the -- if not the most strategic threats to the united states. if we do not maintain the kind of governance and support the efforts there to maintain the secular democratic system, which is occasionally in a precarious situation. >> and what is does your gut say who within pakistan may have known about bin laden's whereabouts, the pakistani spy agency, is it possible they were playing a double game here? >> i think that's possible. but i do think that, look, pakistan right after september 11th, when rich armitage went over there, they were sending a clear signal. bin laden was a different case. and they knew that if it was coming to bin laden, that we would spare no expense and do everything we could to get him. >> ambassador stewart holiday, thank you so much. i appreciate your time today, ambassador. >> thank you very much. and i appreciate your time watching today. i'm contessa brewer. thank you for watching. i'll be back tomorrow, noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. out west.
we'll keep our eye on the new developments. up next, "andrea mitchell reports." hey, smart. you book your room yet? nope. see, hotels.com has over 20,000 last minute deals every week. so i get a great deal, no matter how long i wait. yeah, i'm not very good at waiting... then we must train you to wait. it is time to book, grasshopper. now, it's ok to wait. get great deals. even at the last minute. hotels.com. be smart. book smart.
i think we can all agree this is a good day for america. >> right now on "andrea mitchell reports," they got him. officials say the dna match is 100% positive. and facial recognition technology also proves it is osama bin laden. >> our country has kept its commitment to see that justice is done. the world is safer. it is a better place because of the death of osama bin laden. >> hiding in plain sight, new intelligence photos of a million dollar compound not far from pakistan's capital. not your average cave. so how could pakistan not have known? what do we get for $18 billion in foreign aid since 9/11. today, the remarkable operation, the navy s.e.a.l. team six and the intelligence trail starting with a controversial